In the wake of the Snowden revelations, public trust in the Internet has eroded.
NEXTLEAP aims to create, validate, and deploy communication and computation protocols that can serve as pillars for a secure, trust-worthy, annotable and privacy-respecting Internet that ensures citizens fundamental rights. For this purpose NEXTLEAP will develop an interdisciplinary internet science of decentralisation that provides the basis on which these protocols will be built.
NEXTLEAP pursues three main objectives
* The creation of a fundamental rights-preserving socio-technical science of decentralised internet architecture. * A fundamental re-thinking of the ethical and philosophical foundations of the Internet. * The modular specification of decentralised protocols implemented as open-source software modules for * Privacy-preserving contact lists and presence services supporting federated identity * Secure messaging services that hide metadata (e.g., who, when, how often, etc.) * Privacy-preserving analytics collection and computation.
The technical solutions developed by NEXTLEAP will be rooted in both philosophy and real-world usage of the Internet. In this aspect the project partners will strive to answer the following questions: What motivations and values can be used to predict successful adoption of decentralised systems by communities of users?
While it appears users are often unhappy with losing control of their data to companies that own centralised platforms, very few users do move to alternatives and what precisely the social success or failure of a system is unclear. Is there a decentralised philosophy at the core of the Internet that makes sense of the success of existing protocols?
It is claimed that values around collective intelligence, open innovation, privacy, and decentralisation are built into Internet protocols, but the precise philosophical grounding of these principles – and any new kinds of “internet rights” they entail - is often vague.
It is answers to these questions that are crucial for building succcessful protocols and systems that are adopted by citizens. The NEXTLEAP protocol will verify that the designed protocols have the properties required to guarantee the rights and needs elicited from the answers to the above questions.